Nomura, Masuda named top rookies for 2012


Hiroshima Carp right-hander Yusuke Nomura and Chiba Lotte Marines right-hander Naoya Masuda were named Rookie of the Year on Tuesday in the Central and Pacific leagues, respectively.

Nomura received 200 of the 261 eligible votes in the CL, while Masuda garnered 116 of 210 votes cast in the PL. The Rookie of the Year is decided by the nation’s baseball writers in vote ahead of the Japan Series.

Both leagues made the announcements, honoring the 23-year-olds.

“I’m happy to be selected but it was still a disappointing season for me,” said Nomura, who had a 9-11 record in 27 starts with a 1.98 ERA, the second-best ERA in the league.

It was the first time that a CL Rookie of the Year registered an ERA below 2.00 since Tsuneo Horiuchi did so with the Yomiuri Giants in 1966.

“I was able to control my strengths during the year, but I wasn’t able to win for my team in important games toward the end of the season. I ran out of steam,” said Nomura, referring to his slump in which he went 2-8 after the All-Star break.

Nomura became the eighth Hiroshima player to win the accolade and first since Carp shortstop Eishin Soyogi in 2006.

Masuda, appearing mainly in middle relief, pitched in 72 games for a new rookie record. His 41 holds by a rookie was also a record.

“I have to thank all the people who supported me. I was able to pitch in half of the 144 games,” Masuda said.

Masuda is the seventh player from Lotte to win the honor. Yasutomo Kubo, who is currently with the Hanshin Tigers, was the last Marine to be named the PL Rookie of the Year in 2005.

Chunichi Dragons righty Shinji Tajima was second with just 40 votes in the CL, while Fukuoka Softbank Hawks right-hander Shota Takeda collected 80 to finish runnerup in the PL.